Meghan’s embarrassing Ivanka faux pas
It is a truth universally acknowledged that we all do truly stupid things when we are young, a truth that is equally pertinent if you are a pimple-faced Fortnite obsessive from Slough or you grew up in the same house - scratch that - palace wing as the Queen.
Let us all now enjoy a walk down embarrassing royal memory lane.
The absolute pinnacle of Windsor humiliation is 1987 It's A Royal Knockout which gifted the world the incredible image of members of several of the Queen's children dressed up as vegetables while lobbing fake hams about the place while Meatloaf and John Travolta looked on. In fact, it would take Sarah, Duchess of York and her introduction of toe-sucking into the popular lexicon five years later to really surpass this level of ridicule.
Then there was Andrew's decision to arrive back in Britain with a rose between his teeth after serving in the Falklands War, an image that has not aged well. (His more recent ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein don't fall under 'embarrassing' rather 'horrifying.')
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Let us also enjoy the palace's questionable attempts at giving Charles an 'action man' makeover in the '70s that saw the stick-like Prince go wind sailing and have a crack at parachuting. (Though all that Wagner and Jung and signet-ring twiddling really got in the way of this abortive rebranding.)
Never forget Princes William and Harry's additions to this canon of shamefacedness with their semi-regular boozy nightclub japes of the early aughties. (An honourable mention here goes to the woman formerly known as Kate Middleton who kept the paparazzi in shots of her, iconic chestnut locks askew, tumbling into black cabs for a certain glorious period too.)
Thus let us formerly welcome Meghan Duchess of Sussex to this long and galling tradition of youthful decisions coming back to haunt HRHs, in her case, thanks to the ghost of a blog post past.
However, things get particularly juicy when I tell you that this particular tale doesn't just star the royal but also Ivanka Trump, current First Daughter and soon-to-be Upper East Side social pariah.
In 2014, Meghan launched a lifestyle blog called The Tig, named after her favourite Italian red wine tignanello. The Suits star's foray into publishing offered a less-than-unique mish mash of style, travel and food tips interspersed with some Oprah-lite introspection.
Meghan grandly wrote that her project would be "a hub for the discerning palate" and a "breeding ground for ideas & excitement - for an inspired lifestyle." Diptyque candles at the ready ladies!
(To be fair, in the years since then, she has truly inspired a lot of people to aspire to the lifestyle of a member of the British royal family.)
The Tig also featured a smattering of celeb content, including then designer and hotelier Ivanka Trump taking part in a very brief Q+A.
Meghan's introduction of Ivanka takes flattery to a new, nauseating level. Donald Trump's daughter is "staggeringly beautiful" and "so incredibly savvy and intelligent".
"Don't get me started on her jewelry collection: the late night 'window shopping' I have done on my computer, snuggled up in my bed with a glass of wine, staring longingly at the beautiful designs," wrote Meghan.
She goes on to write that while arranging the interview, "We also began planning drinks and dinner for the next time I was in NY.
"This much I know - when we have drinks, I will make sure I order whatever she does - because this woman seems to have the formula for success (and happiness) down pat."
(And the actual Q+A? The six questions offer probing insights such as Ivanka thinks everything tastes better with salt and that she can't live without chapstick.)
All of this would have disappeared into the ether of the internet if not for the fact that Ivanka's father went on to make a horrifyingly successful, hate-filled run for the White House and Meghan went on to marry the sixth-in-line to the British throne.
Given that today Meghan is now busy, alongside her husband Harry, establishing herself as a shining light of the left and aligning herself with key power players such as Gloria Steinem and Michelle Obama, Ivanka's Tig outing makes for toe-curling reading.
The obsequiousness is hard to stomach, even at a distance. Similarly, witnessing Meghan fawning over someone just that smidge higher than her (at the time) on the celebrity ladder is excruciating.
Beyond the tone and tenor of the piece, there is something discordant about Meghan's idolisation of a woman who has traded off of her infamous surname. Sure, she makes the point that Ivanka had graduated from the prestigious Wharton School of Business and that she had, supposedly, "created her own empire".
But for Meghan, a woman whose success was wholly thanks to her own hard work, tenacity and talent, to so mortifyingly gush over the ostensible achievements of a woman whose business was bankrolled by Daddy is jarring, no?
Also, it's worth noting that even in 2014, the wisdom of associating with the Trump name was up for debate. Donald Trump was already a controversial figure in the American political landscape by the point in time when Meghan was gushing over Ivanka.
In 2011, as Barack Obama ran for the presidency, Trump senior was the most high-profile proponent of the conspiracy theory that Obama had not been born in the USA and was thus ineligible.
"He doesn't have a birth certificate. He may have one, but there is something on that birth certificate - maybe religion, maybe it says he's a Muslim; I don't know," Mr Trump told Fox News in March of that year.
Sussex/Trump relations have soured somewhat since The Tig years. In 2016, Meghan called Ivanka's father "misogynistic" and "divisive, which was hardly likely to earn the actress a second invitation for cocktails and low-carbs snacks with Ivanka.
More recently, when Mr Trump and his gaggle of nepotistically-hired progeny descended on London for an official visit in 2019, Harry seemed to go out of his way to steer clear of the President.
When asked about Meghan's earlier comments during that UK trip, Mr Trump said, "I didn't know she was nasty."
Suffice to say, with both the Sussexes and Donald and Melania Trump now all Stateside and (soon to be in the Trumps' case) without a full-time job, it seems unlikely we will see the quartet enjoying a doubles tennis game anytime soon. (Though, the thought of Melania smizing her way through three sets opposite Harry is entertainment enough.)
Still, there could be an interesting circularity to all of this. It has long, if not somewhat fantastically, been rumoured the Duchess of Sussex holds political ambitions and in fact in October, an astoundingly realistic-but-fake 'Meghan for President' website mysteriously appeared online.
Wilder things have happened - after all, in 2014, no one would have imagined for a second that a blogger and cable actress would end becoming a member of the royal family.
So, watch out 2024: No savvy person would beat against the humanitarian HRH taking her zeal and initiative all the way from Kensington Palace to the White House.
Daniela Elser is a royal expert and writer with more than 15 years experience working with a number of Australia's leading media titles.
Originally published as Meghan's embarrassing Ivanka faux pas